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The Miserable Patient and the Mighty Physician (5 of 10)
Great Faith Series
The pool of Bethesda ("house of grace", or "house of mercy"):This pool was a rectangular spring-fed pool with five porticoes. It is likely the pool discovered in 1888 near St. Ann's Church, in the Bezetha quarter of Jerusalem near the Tower of Antonia and the Sheep's Gate. It has a five-arched portico with faded frescoes of Christ's healing.
Nicky Gumbel, a minister in the Anglican Church in Great Britain who gives the presentations on the Alpha videos, told of a funeral he once did for an elderly woman who was known throughout the community as a "bag lady."
For years, up to her death, she roamed the streets living off whatever meager handouts she would get. Nicky said that he didn't expect very many people at her funeral until the pastor he worked with told him that the woman had inherited millions of pounds many years earlier and to expect lots of relatives--close, distant or otherwise--to show up.
Indeed, there was a large crowd at the funeral. Nicky asked one of the family members why this woman lived as she did, even though she was a multi-millionaire. They told him, "She didn't want to give up the only life she'd known." She didn't want to "get well," even though she had more than enough resources to do so. "Do you want to get well?"
Jesus will not force himself into our lives, will not force his program for wellness into our sickness. But, he wants us to know how great is his love for us.
Karl Barth, perhaps the most prominent theologian of the 20th century, says that nothing in the New Testament does harm to the freedom of God...or the freedom of humanity.
This story is evidence of that. Uninvited, Jesus--upon seeing the paralyzed man and learning how long the man had this condition--approaches the man with an opportunity to be healed. "Do you want to get well?" Christ acts with complete freedom. They have to work past some initial excuse ...
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